SSA's chief for synchronised swimming to step down
SSA's chief for synchronised swimming steps down
There will be a new man at the helm of synchronised swimming in Singapore from next month.
Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) vice-president (synchronised swimming) Philip Lee is stepping down at the end of this month due to personal and work commitments.
He will be replaced by Steve Chew, who will be co-opted into SSA's executive committee, with the national sports association's elections due only next year.
Lee, 51, has been involved in synchronised swimming since 2005. He took on the SSA role after winning the elections in 2014.
Chew has been involved in synchronised swimming for the last 10 years and was the vice-president for the aquatic discipline from 2012-2014.
"Earlier this year, there were some personal and work commitments that required my attention, but I also had the responsibility of overseeing the SEA Games preparations," said Lee, the SpeediSwim Aquatic Centre founder, who will focus on developing age-group athletes in synchronised swimming, water polo and swimming at club level.
"Now that the task is completed, it would be good for new leadership to take over, and I can move on to settle my own commitments."
If they can stay on together and study in Singapore, then an Asian medal is possible.Out-going SSA vice-president (synchronised swimming) Philip Lee, on the potential of duo Debbie Soh and Miya Yong
SSA president Lee Kok Choy paid tribute to Lee, saying: "Singapore Synchronised Swimming has grown tremendously under Philip's charge, from winning a first-ever gold medal in the sport in the 2015 SEA Games, to achieving a record medal haul at the 2017 SEA Games.
"I would like to thank Philip for his contribution and wish him all the best in his future endeavours."
At the regional Games this year, the Republic bested hosts Malaysia to finish as the aquatic discipline's top Asean nation, with a record three golds, two silvers and two bronzes.
In addition, Lee has introduced a technical committee for synchronised swimming to improve aspects of organising competitions, as well as judging standards here.
He said that there were four Fina-listed judges when he took office in 2014, but that number has increased to "six or seven", with about 50 active synchronised swimming judges locally.
Also, during his tenure he brought in experts such as Miwako Homma, Jennifer Gray and Julie Sauve to improve the aquatic discipline at various levels, such as grassroots and high performance.
Lee believes that the athletes - in particular Debbie Soh and Miya Yong - have what it takes to go further, and win medals at the Asian Games level.
He said: "If we really want to perform well in the Asian Games, we need mature swimmers in terms of age and skill, we need swimmers who are willing to stay till they are 20 or 21.
"It's a bit hard to have an entire team follow through to that age, but we have good potential for a duet to do that.
"We have singled out Miya and Debbie and we hope they would stay on... if they can stay on together and study in Singapore, then an Asian medal is possible.
"We have seen how they have grown and their performances, and we know their abilities are there. It's only how long they can sustain the partnership and how far we can stretch them."
Lee's successor, Chew, said: "The vision is to remain the top nation in the region, but we have to keep working hard and make the next step-up in the Asian level."
To prepare for next year's Asian Games, there are plans for overseas training camps and competitions," Chew added.